Crime victims’ bill of rights OK’d for ballot – Florida Politics

Crime victims’ bill of rights OK’d for ballot

A proposed constitutional amendment is headed to the ballot that would, among other things, enshrine a crime victims’ bill of rights in the state constitution.

“Revision 1” (P6001) was OK’d Monday by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) on a 34-3 vote; it needed at least 22 votes for ballot placement.

Now, the amendment must get no less than 60 percent approval in November to be added to the constitution.

The measure would create a Marsy’s Law for Florida, named after Marsalee ‘Marsy’ Nicholas of California. She was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.

It creates constitutional rights for victims or their surviving family members to attend and be heard during certain court proceedings and to “full and timely restitution,” among other provisions.

“Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer,” according to the group’s website. “The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail.

“In an effort to honor his sister, Nicholas — co-founder of Broadcom Corp. — made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide.”

Six other states have enacted a Marsy’s Law, according to the group, including California, Illinois, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Montana.

The amendment as passed also raises the judicial retirement age in the state to 75 from 70, and requires courts and administrative tribunals to interpret statutes and rules without regard to the way a state agency may have interpreted them for enforcement purposes.

The CRC is formed every 20 years to review and suggest changes to the state’s governing document. Amendments it approves go directly on the 2018 statewide ballot.

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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